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National Abortion Federation Blog: Saporta Reporter

News about reproductive choice from the President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, Vicki Saporta. photo of Vicki Saporta
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  Remembering an American hero: George Tiller

We continue to mourn the loss of our friend and colleague, Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was a dedicated physician who provided quality abortion care to women, at great personal sacrifice and risk. He is truly a hero to his fellow abortion providers and his patients. Dr. Tiller’s office is filled with letters from women, thanking him for the excellent, compassionate care he provided. Many of these women say Dr. Tiller saved their lives.

Since his tragic death, we have received messages from some of his patients and from people around the world who are saddened and outraged. We feel it is important to share these words and tributes to our beloved colleague and friend. For the first time, we will enable comments on our blog so that all of you can share your condolences or offer memories of Dr. Tiller. We invite you to join us in honoring a true American hero, Dr. George Tiller.

Post your comments, condolences, and personal memories of Dr. Tiller

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dr. Henry Morgentaler Honoured by Canadian Labour Congress

Today, the Canadian Labour Congress awarded NAF member Dr. Henry Morgentaler with its highest honour, the Award for Outstanding Service to Humanity, for his work to promote health and equality for women.

It is more than fitting that as we celebrate Dr. Morgentaler’s historic legal victory for women in the Supreme Court of Canada 20 years ago – we honour his amazing contribution to the advancement of human rights, women’s equality, and progressive change,” Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, told delegates.

For more than 40 years, Dr. Morgentaler has worked as a physician and advocate for women’s reproductive freedom. He was one of the first doctors to provide abortion care in Canada and won a significant victory for Canadian women in the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Morgentaler, the ruling that decriminalized abortion in Canada in 1988.

>Learn more about legal abortion in Canada.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

National Abortion Federation Affirms Rejection of Anti-Abortion Ads

Today we released the following statement in response to Advertising Standards Canada’s (ASC) declaration that an anti-abortion ad campaign launched in January by Life Canada is “deceptive”:

We concur with the decision of Advertising Standards Canada to reject this
deceptive ad campaign. These ads violated standards for acceptable advertising
by using misleading images and misinformation to advance an agenda of banning
abortion. We commend ASC for affirming that advertisements must be truthful and
accurate.

The controversial ads featured an image of a pregnant woman with text that read, “Nine months: the length of time abortion is allowed in Canada. No medical reason needed. Abortion, have we gone too far?”

Eighty-two percent of abortions in Canada are provided during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, according to Statistics Canada. In reality, doctors in Canada only provide abortion care after 23 weeks 6 days from a woman’s last menstrual period if a woman’s health or life is at risk or the fetus has a lethal anomaly.

Cities across Canada including Fredericton, New Brunswick and Kelowna, British Columbia refused to run these ads due to their “offensive” and “controversial” nature. The ads were also pulled from public transportation in Hamilton, Ontario prior to this decision by ASC.

Women facing an unwanted pregnancy deserve accurate information, not this type of politically motivated propaganda.

NAF provides unbiased, factual information about abortion care through our toll-free Hotline (1-800-772-9100) and website (www.prochoice.org).

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Canada Releases Abortion Statistics

Today, Statistics Canada released abortion data for 2005. According to the data, a total of 96,815 abortions were provided to Canadian women that year, which was down 3.2 percent from 100,039 in 2004.

The agency reported that abortion rates fell in every age group except among women aged 35 to 39, where it remained the same. Women in their early 20s accounted for the largest age group—at 31 percent—of women who obtained abortion care in 2005.

These numbers include all abortions provided in hospitals and clinics in provinces and territories, except Manitoba clinics, which have not had data available since 2004. Abortions obtained by Canadian women in some U.S. states are also not accounted for by the data.

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Appeals Court Strikes Down Virginia Abortion Ban

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned a Virginia abortion law on constitutional grounds. This is the second time the federal appeals court in Richmond has struck down this law ruling it would impose an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to obtain abortion care.

The 2-1 ruling affirms the same court’s 2005 decision to strike down the abortion ban, a ruling which prevented Virginia’s law from taking effect. However, last year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal law banning certain abortions. Following this decision, the Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to reexamine the Virginia law in light of the high court's ruling on the federal ban. Since the Supreme Court decision in April 2007, federal appeals courts have overturned state bans in Michigan and now Virginia, finding that they are broader than the federal abortion ban.

Like the federal law, Virginia’s act banned certain abortion procedures after the first trimester and lacked an exception to protect women’s health.

“Unlike the federal act,” Judge M. Blane Michael wrote for the majority, “the Virginia act subjects all doctors who perform” the more common procedure “to potential criminal liability, thereby imposing an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to choose.”

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Women’s Health Care Innovator Dies

Harvey Karman, an early abortion provider who developed a device, which improved abortion care died this month. In the 1970s Karman developed a soft, flexible tube, or cannula, which made early suction abortions possible with local or no anesthesia and made perforation far less likely. The Karman cannula became a crucial component of abortion care in the developing world, and it is still used to provide women with safe, early abortion care. Karman is responsible for saving the lives of countless women throughout the world through this innovative technology.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Plan B Approved for Over-the-Counter Sale in Canada

This week, the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) has accepted a recommendation and approved Plan B (also known as emergency contraception) for over-the-counter sale. Under current rules in Canada, women who want to buy Plan B have to ask pharmacy staff for the drug, a condition critics say may discourage some women from using it to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Allowing Plan B to be sold on drugstore shelves instead of behind-the-counter will give Canadian women the ability to easily access the medication in time for it to be an effective option.

NAPRA advises Canada's provincial regulatory authorities, which will have final say in adopting the new policy in their own regions.

>Learn more about emergency contraception.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Series Examines Laws Targeting Abortion Providers

This month, RH Reality Check is featuring a series on Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) Laws, which single out abortion clinics for unnecessary, politically motivated, restrictive regulations.

The series examines how abortion opponents use legislation to restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion care.
The anti's strategy has been to allow abortion to remain legal, but to make it
unavailable,” says Bonnie Scott Jones, Deputy Director of Domestic Programs
at the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights. “Their goal is to make
abortion so difficult to obtain it's not really an option. They've also worked
to make it more difficult to be an abortion provider than any other kind of
doctor. TRAP laws work as a disincentive to becoming part of, or remaining in,
the abortion field.”
>Learn more about TRAP Laws.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Restrictive Bills Fail in Florida, Kansas

Although access to abortion care continues to be threatened in the states, this week, we celebrated the following defeats of new proposed restrictive legislation:

The Florida Senate failed to pass a bill, which would have required a woman seeking abortion care to have an ultrasound and view the results unless she signed a waiver. After 90 minutes of debate, the bill died on a 20-20 tie. This legislation was medically unnecessary, and an unwarranted intrusion into the relationship between a doctor and patient.

Anti-choice senators in Kansas failed to override the governor's veto of a bill imposing new restrictions on abortion care. Last week, Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) noted in her veto message that the bill, "endangers the health of women and is likely to be found in violation [of] the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Kansas."

>Learn more about abortion rights in the states.

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